Just days after the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors received a COVID-19 update, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a new round of statewide closures. In light of increased cases of COVID-19 and more hospitalizations, the governor announced on Monday, July 13 that all 58 counties across the state must close indoor operations in a number of sectors.
To implement the new State order issued by Governor Newsom, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park signed an updated County Stay-At-Home Order which requires the following sectors modify operations to provide services outside or by pick-up only beginning immediately, as of July 13.
Newly Modified Order For Outside Operations Only:
Gyms and Fitness centers
Offices for non-essential sectors
Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, and tattoo parlors)
Hair salons and barbershops
Other Businesses that are open for Outside Operation Only:
Businesses that are still not allowed to be open include:
Bars, brewpubs, and pubs (without exception including those that serve food)
Family entertainment centers/Movie theaters
Film TV and movie production
Pro sports with or without spectator audiences
Zoos and museums
Businesses that are open in San Joaquin County:
The following businesses are allowed to operate in San Joaquin County following their industry guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health, which can be found at www.covid19.ca.gov.
Campgrounds, RV, Outdoor Recreation and Pools
Tribal Casinos and Racetracks (without spectators)
Hotels for Tourism and Travel
“While these additional closures to indoor business activities is distressing for everyone in the community, it is a resounding wake-up call that much more needs to be done in order to prevent the spread of this deadly virus,” said Dr. Park. “My greatest concern is that if we can’t follow the rules by restricting gatherings, wearing face coverings and social distancing, then we will be right back to square one where businesses are completely shut down, hospitals are at capacity and deaths are at an all-time high.”
All residents of the county are authorized to leave their residences to engage with these businesses but must comply with the state requirement to wear a face covering, comply with social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
State public health directives prohibit professional, social and community gatherings. Gatherings are defined as meetings or other events that bring together persons from multiple households at the same time for a shared or group experience in a single room, space, or place such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, or other indoor or outdoor space. They pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.
In San Joaquin County, the latest COVID figures available as of Monday, July 13 showed that there were 3,308 positive cases confirmed in the last two weeks, bringing the total of 6,703. Additionally, 16 COVID-related deaths were reported in the last 14 days, bringing the total to 68 in San Joaquin County.
Park reported to the county Board of Supervisors that the number of COVID-19 positive cases increased significantly in the county – and the numbers she provided to supervisors at their July 7 meeting were much lower than those released on Monday, showing how quickly the situation has escalated.
Dr. Park also noted that there has also been a large upswing in the number of hospitalizations in the county and provided statistics that the State is using to monitor counties and the projections for San Joaquin County in the next month. The county is projected to have 335 patients in the hospital by Aug. 5 and have 263 deaths by Aug. 5, unless mitigation measures are successful.
“We are watching the numbers very carefully, and while we had additional closures which might help reduce our hospitalizations or reduce the spread, we also had July 4th celebrations and there were parties and gatherings which could also increase the number of confirmed cases and that continues to be a concern,” Dr. Park said.
Additionally, she told supervisors that in order to mitigate these increased numbers, public health is doing the following:
In June, Postcards were sent to those at highest risk, 1171 in English, 289 in Spanish and 17 in Portuguese.
Priority List was developed for Public Health Case Investigators due to the high case load list.
Health Advisory for COVID-19 sent to Health Care Providers which asks providers to isolate those that have tested positive.
Prioritizing lab tests similar to the prioritization for contact tracing.
Public awareness campaign launched on July 1 to educate residents about the continued threat of COVID-19 with public service announcements in local radio stations, local TV stations, local newspapers, in both English and Spanish, as well as 20 billboards to be placed around the county.
Mask On Campaign in conjunction with United Way and Dignity Health.
The Board of Supervisors has approved $300,000 in new laboratory equipment for the public health department which will help the County reach 1,000 tests in a week and this equipment can also be used to test tuberculosis and sexually-transmitted diseases.
Supervisors approved Round 2 of the Small Business Assistant Grant Program to be expanded to cover businesses with up to 250 full-time employees with a maximum grant amount of $100,000, a new Micro Business Assistance Grant for businesses/non-profits with no full-time employees, a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Grant Program available to small businesses and non-profits. A majority of these programs will be funded through the unexpended funds remaining which is $7 million and the board included an additional $1 million for the PPE grant program.
Shellie Lima, from the Office of Emergency Services, provided an update on testing in San Joaquin County and reported that the Project Baseline testing site conducted 9,341 tests as of June 30, 2020 and the Optumserve site in Lodi has conducted 4,100 tests as of June 30, 2020.